As an amateur phrenologist I can tell a lot about you just by analyzing your skull. Oh sure, you can wear a hat in a futile attempt to throw me off the scent but I have other methods, too.
The bottom line is that I don’t need to know you to really know you. When you’ve been in the human-watching game as long as I have, you pick up a few tricks along the way.
For example, I could probably write a book about you (or at least a modestly priced e-book) just by studying what time train you take to work in the morning.
“Whaaaaat?” you inquire nervously, “you follow strangers around just to see what time train they take? That’s creepy.”
“Of course not,” I reply defensively, “I only stalk strangers on the Newbury/Rockport line in Boston. I have associates that handle other territories.”
What Your Train Says About You
You Take a Train in the 5 o’clock (a.m.) hour:
You wear an old suit. You carry your belongings in a bindle. Your favorite food is mulligan stew. You will burglar if necessary, but you avoid violence whenever possible. You are respectful to women and children but definitely not to Johnny Lawman. Your favorite drink is tokay wine. Your drug of choice is opium. You are, obviously, a hobo, because no regular person takes a train before 6 in the morning.
You Take a Train in the 6 o’clock (a.m.) hour:
You wear a custom-tailored suit. You read the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times. You have a large diamond in your pinky ring. You are still peeved that the nanny’s quarters are too close to the kitchen in the house you rented in Newport. You are nervous that your wife will find out that you got the nanny pregnant, but then you tell yourself that captains of industry just weren’t meant to be monogamous.
You Take a Train in the 7 o’clock (a.m.) hour:
You wear business casual clothes to work. You have already consumed 6 cups of coffee. You are feverishly typing e-mails while yelling at people on the phone. You are late for a meeting, actually 2 meetings, because you are always double booked. You are peeved because someone had the nerve to plop down in the middle seat next to you. You can actually feel your arteries clogging from all of the stress and kind of hope for a heart attack just so you can get a few days off. (Helpful tip: slackers should avoid the 7 o’clock train at all costs.)
You Take a Train in the 8 o’clock (a.m.) hour:
You wear jeans or shorts to work. You are sweating from running late for your train, even though you’re not getting to work until 9:30-ish anyway. You are still a little hung-over from last night. You are playing one of your kid’s games on your ipod. You forgot your wallet again and have to give a sob story to the conductor. You’re living the American dream! (Helpful tip: slackers are always welcome on the 8 o’clock train.)
You Take a Train in the 9 o’clock (a.m.) hour:
You are wearing pyjamas and pretending that they are sweatpants. You are drinking peppermint schnapps out of your travel mug and pretending that it’s coffee. You are reading ads looking for medical experiment volunteers and pretending that you have lupus. You are considering eating the half of bagel that you found on the floor. Oh, who are you kidding? You know that you’re going to eat the bagel. Trains aren’t that dirty.
Weird, huh? It’s like looking in a mirror! Next week: something else.
Oh yeah, I also wrote this thing you might like: Riding the Rails, Boston-style.